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TWO DENY FORGERY AND FRAUD CHARGES.

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BY NT CORRESPONDENT.

Two businessmen have been charged with forgery and conspiracy to defraud Golden Gate Cargo services limited by illegally registering four Safaricom lines.

Abdirahman Adan Hussein and Bare Mohammed Abdirahman appeared before Milimani Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Adan and Abdirahman on unknown dates last year, jointly with others not before court conspired to defraud Golden Gate Cargo services limited for Safaricom lines by transferring to their company Safe Gate Cargo Services limited.

Bare is accused that on October 13 last year at unknown place in Nairobi County with intent to defraud forged the signature Abdullahi Sheikh Mohamed on a letter dated October 13, 2020 to Safaricom limited requesting for registration of postpaid services purporting it to be the genuine and signed by Sheikh, who is the Managing Director Golden Gate Cargo services limited.

The prosecution said Bare had that on October 14 last year at Safaricom’s Eastleigh retail shop, within Nairobi County, knowingly and fraudulently uttered to a Safaricom retail shop attendant a forged letter requesting for authority to register postpaid services purporting it to be genuine.

The two were released on a cash bail. The prosecution has listed three witnesses to testify in the trial.

LOSS FOR SUSPECTED DRUG TRAFFICKERS AS COURT ORDER SEIZURE OF TWO VEHICLES.

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BY PHOEBE WANJOHI.

Three suspected drug traffickers have suffered a blow after the High Court allowed the seizure of their motor vehicles, pending the hearing of an application to forfeit them to the state.

Justice Hedwig Ong’undi allowed the application by Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) to have the motor vehicles belonging to Barak Boru, Mohammed Abdirahim, Mohamed Adan and Momanyi Dennis preserved, pending the determination of the petition to be filed.

Ong’undi directed the suspects to surrender the original logbooks of the two motor vehicles to ARA within seven days. The vehicles will later be held at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) along Kiambu Road.

The Judge also ordered the Director General of National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA) to register a caveat against the records of each of the motor vehicles in the matter, to stop any sale or transfer.

The three businessmen were arrested on May 24 last year in Isiolo over allegations of trafficking in narcotic drugs (cannabis sativa) with a street value of Sh3 million.  

During the arrest, a search was conducted and 21 bundles of plant substance suspected to be narcotic drugs were found concealed in the said vehicle.

Officers had conducted an investigation, identified and traced assets belonging to Boru, Abdirahim and Adan who had been charged with criminal offences in court with the offence of trafficking in narcotic drugs.

They were arrested on Merti-Isiolo at Gotu-Merti Junction within Isiolo County. One of the vehicles is registered in the name of Momanyi and Equity bank while the other vehicle is registered in the name of Abdullahi Boru and First Community bank.  

The agency through senior state counsel Irari Mercy Faith had sought the orders arguing that the assets having been procured using proceeds from the illicit trade in narcotic drugs and used for commission of a crime, the assets are liable for confiscation by the state under the proceeds of crime and anti-money laundering act.

 “There’s danger that the respondents namly First community bank and Equity bank (listed as an interested party) may transfer or dispose of the said asset as there are no court orders currently preserving the assets in issue,” says ARA

SONKO PETITION SEEKING TO STOP MCAS. FROM VETTING. ANNE KANANU SET FOR THURSDAY.

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BY SAM ALFAN.

A judge has directed a case filed by ousted Nairobi governor Mike Sonko, seeking to stop the vetting of deputy governor nominee Anne Kananu to be heard on Thursday.

Justice Anthony Mrima disallowed an application to stop the vetting temporarily, saying he would rather hear all parties before making a ruling.

Kananu is set to be vetted on January 15 but Sonko says he revoked her nomination days before he was impeached.

Justice Mrima also directed two other cases, filed by Okiya Omtatah and Habib Kongo to be heard together with Sonko’s case.

The judge will also give directions on an application to have President Uhuru Kenyatta’s sister Kristina Pratt and Jane Weru, removed from the case. 

To speed up the hearing, Justice Mrima directed parties to urgently file their submissions ahead of the hearing on Thursday, noting that the County Assembly had indicated it would conduct the vetting on Friday. 

In the petition, Sonko says he was pressured by Kristina to consider Weru for nomination as the deputy governor.

He said Kristina called him just before he was impeached asking him to nominate Weru as the Deputy Governor and revoke Kananu’s nomination.

He wants the court to stop the Nairobi county assembly from vetting and approving his earlier nominee, Anne Kamau Mwenda as the Deputy Governor.

“It is necessary to have Jane Weru as the Second interested party for her being the person recommended by Christina Pratt Kenyatta to me to assume role and the capacity of the Nairobi City County Governor immediately prior to my unlawful and sham impeachment”, Sonko added. 

Sonko further alleges that the first family has been interfering with the affairs of Nairobi City County, both politically and administratively especially after the creation of Nairobi Metropolitan Services and appointed of a military General to run the department by the president.

He said after the conversation with Pratt, he cancelled Kananu’s appointment and wrote to her and the County assembly of the decision on December 7.

The ex-governor in court papers says he withdrew the nomination following pressure from the first family.

Sonko also sought to stop the acting Governor Benson Mutura from making illegal appointment at city hall arguing that he lacks powers to make any appointments.

This was after Mutura made changes to the cabinet and brought back Education CeC Janet Ouko, whom had been sacked by Sonko.

The former city boss wants order issued prohibiting any execution or further execution of the decision by Mutura as contained in his letter dated January 6 in which he made the changes.

Through lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui, Sonko says the letter by Mutura purporting to reappoint Ouko was illegal having been dismissed.

“In the circumstances, it is plain that unless restrained court by way of a conservatory order Mutura will wreak havoc in the governance of Nairobi City County in the acting capacity of a Governor he is occupying,” he added. 

Sonko argues that Mutura violated the County Governments Act, which expressly forbids him from exercising any of the powers of an elected governor.

He said the powers to nominate, appoint or dismiss any person in the County government are not available in law to Mutura.

Sonko also faulted the dismissal the Nairobi City County Secretary Justus Kathenge and the simultaneous appointment of Jairus Musimba.

WHY STATE WANTS AKINYI’S VEHICLES FORFEITED TO THE GOVERNMENT.

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BY SAM ALFAN.

Assets Recovery Agency now wants two Toyotas belonging to Nairobi businesswoman and suspected drug dealer Joyce Akinyi forfeited to the government.

In the petition, the agency wants Toyota crown and Toyota DBA seized by the government saying they are believed to be proceeds of crime.

Last year, Justice Mumbi Ngugi ordered Akinyi to surrender the two vehicles to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) on Kiambu Road, together with the logbooks.

The judge had further directed the Director General of the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) to register a caveat against the records of each vehicle.

“There is imminent danger that the respondent shall dispose, dissipate or transfer the said assets as there was no court order currently preserving the said assets,” said the Agency.

ARA commenced investigations to recover proceeds of crime accrued by Akinyi on illegitimate trafficking and trading in narcotic drugs after she was arrested and charged.

She and two others were charged at a Jomo Kenyatta International Airport court on July 15, 2019 after a search was conducted at her residence at Deep West Resort Bar in Nairobi West and the police recovered some 1,050 grams of heroin with a street value of Sh3.09 million.

“Unless this honourable court grants the orders sought, the economic advantage derived from the commission of crimes will continue to benefit a few to the disadvantage of the general public interest,” ARA submitted.

It is alleged that during investigations looked into the activities of Akinyi’s two bank accounts held at Stanbic bank to ascertain whether the funds they held were indeed proceeds of crime.

According to ARA, both accounts received suspicious huge sums of cash and cheque deposits that indicate activities of money laundering.

Investigations further established that the deposits were made in tranches below one million shillings to evade the reporting threshold as per the Central Bank of Kenya prudential guidelines for an account holder to declare the source of the money.

During her arrest on July 13, 2019 at the resort, more items were seized including an East African passport in the name of Ochieng Joyce Akinyi, one Kenyan passport in the name of Jackline Glory Achieng, three Congolese passports in the names of Kambere Raha Eveline, Kambura Mape Marline and Musanrishay kalala Paulin, Tanita digital scale and a total cash coin in Uganda Shillings of Sh 20,000.

HIGH COURT TO INTERPRET GRAFT CHARGES AGAINST THARAKA NITHI COUNTY BOSS AND 20 OTHERS.

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BY SAM ALFAN.

Graft case against Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki has been referred to the High Court for interpretation as to whether they were charged under the correct Act.

Muthomi and 20 others face graft charges but they have challenged the case arguing that they do not under which Act they were charged.

Trial Magistrate Douglas Ogoti directed the file to be taken before the High Court for interpretation.

Defence lawyers pointed out that the charge sheet mentions of the penal code and also the Anti-corruption and Economic Crimes Act.

But under section 214 of Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) court can order the amendment of the charge against the accused persons giving prosecution room to prefer fresh charges.

Ogoti, however dismissed an application for the case to be referred to Tharaka Nithi.

It was the argument of the lawyers that the Director of Public Prosecution had the opportunity to charge them in Embu, Meru or even Tharaka Nithi to cut down  expenses they incur.

Njuku and his co-accused denied charges of conspiracy to defraud the county government of Sh34 million through an unprocedural tendering process.

OMTATAH SUES TO BLOCK KANANU’S VETTING AND APPOINTMENT AS NAIROBI COUNTY BOSS.

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BY SAM ALFAN.

Activist Okiyah Omtatah has moved to court seeking to block planned vetting and approval of Anne Kananu Mwenda as the nominee for Nairobi deputy governor.

In a petition under certificate of urgency, Omtatah wants the court to quash the Gazette Notice published on January 4 by the Nairobi city clerk. 

Justice Anthony Mrima certified the case as urgent and directed it to be heard next week. 

The activist wants the court to prohibit the Nairobi City County Assembly, Speaker Benson Mutura, Clerk of the assembly and their agents and any persons howsoever acting from vetting, appointing or swearing in Kananu.

Omtatah wants the court to Compel Independent and Electrol and Boundaries Commission to announce a vacancy in the office of the Deputy Governor of Nairobi City County and prepare at the scheduled by-election for the election of the Deputy Governor alongside the Governor as provided for in the law. 

He seeks a declaration that Kananu is ineligible to be vetted, appointed or sworn into office as the Deputy Governor arguing that only a serving Deputy Governor in office when a governor is impeached, can take over as the governor. 

“In the absence of a substantive Governor to make the appointment, a nominee for Deputy Governor, who is vetted and approved by a County Assembly, cannot be appointed to be sworn into office,” he says.

He adds that the office of the Nairobi City County Deputy Governor is vacant and should be filled alongside that of the Governor at the scheduled by-election to be held by the IEBC.  

IEBC, he says should announce the vacancy in the office of the Deputy Governor and prepare for the election of the office holder alongside the Governor as provide for in law. 

“To the extent that they do not provide for the election of the Nairobi County Deputy Governor, Gazette Notice No. 10914  dated December 21, 2020; Gazette Notice No. 4 of January 14, 2021; Gazette Notice No. 5 of 4 January, 2021; Gazette Notice No. 6 of 4 January, 2021 are unconstitutional and, therefore, invalid, null and void,” Omtatah urged. 

He argue that there is no legal basis to vet Kananu for appointment as the Deputy Governor in circumstances where there is no substantive Governor to make the appointment.

He said the by-election for both the Governor and the Deputy Governor can only be avoided where the High Court quashes the impeachment of Governor Mike Sonko in which case he will resume office.

Regarding Polycarp Igathe, Omtatah said Igathe is no longer the deputy Governor of Nairobi City County and he left office on January 31, 2018 and proceeded into private business and never looked back.

Igathe was elected as the second Deputy Governor of Nairobi City County at the 2017 general elections on a Jubilee Party ticket with Sonko but later resigned.

SONKO SAYS PRESIDENT KENYATTA’S ELDER SISTER PUSHED FOR NOMINATION OF DEPUTY GOVERNOR.

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BY NT CORRESPONDENT.

Ousted Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko now claims that a relative of President Uhuru Kenyatta tried pushing for the appointment of a deputy governor last year.

In the court documents, Sonko alleged that President Uhuru Kenyatta sister Christina Pratt Kenyatta called him just before he was impeached asking him to nominate Jane Weru as the Deputy Governor and revoke the nomination of Anne Kananu Mwenda.  

He wants the court to stop the Nairobi county assembly from vetting and approving his earlier nominee, Anne Kamau Mwenda as the Deputy Governor.

“It is necessary to have Jane Weru as the Second interested party for her being the person recommended by Christina Pratt Kenyatta to me to assume role and the capacity of the Nairobi City County Governor immediately prior to my unlawful and sham impeachment”, Sonko added. 

Sonko further alleges that the first family has been interfering with the affairs of Nairobi City County, both politically and administratively especially after the creation of Nairobi Metropolitan Services and appointed of a military General to run the department by the president.

He said after the conversation with Pratt, he cancelled Kananu’s appointment and wrote to her and the County assembly of the decision on December 7.

The ex-governor in court papers says he withdrew the nomination following pressure from the first family.

He has attached audio clips and transcript of his conversation with Pratt Kenyatta, the elder sister of President Kenyatta.

He terms attempt by the Acting Governor Benson Mutura and the county assembly to clear a candidate who her appointment was revoked as unconstitutional.

“By the said letter dated December 7, 2020, the said Anne Kananu Mwenda was duly informed and alerted on her revoked nomination as such Deputy Governor and she duly confirmed to Sonko receipt of this communication, which she is estopped from denying the validity of.

Sonko contends that the imminent intention of the county assembly and speaker to appoint Kananu as the Nairobi City County Deputy Governor is null and void, and there is no basis in law to so act or move, as the nomination hitherto made by him of the said Kananu as the Deputy Governor of Nairobi City County was withdrawn.

He relies on the dictum that “An unconstitutional act is not a law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; it affords no protection; it creates no office; it is, in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been.” Hence no lawful appointment of Kananu as the Nairobi City County Deputy Governor stands.

” Unless restrained the county assembly is now threatening to unlawfully vet and impose Anne Kananu Mwenda as the Nairobi City County Deputy governor, hence the necessity of the Conservatory Orders sought,” added Sonko.

Sonko said Mutura who is just a mere acting Governor has arrogated himself powers of a substantive Governor prohibited by section 32(4) of county Government Act by reoppointing sacked staff and sacking others as indicated on his letter dated January 6,2021.

He told the court he had been placed under extremely hard and oppressive conditions on spurious and unsubstantiated allegations that he abused the office of Nairobi Governor yet he has been deliberately he had been put out of the public domain. 

Justice Mumbi Ngugi blocked Kananu vetting by the Nairobi City County Assembly after Peter Odhiambo filed a case to stop the assembly from vetting her. Odhiambo later withdrew the case paving way for Kananu’s vetting.

WHY STATE AGENCY WANTS MONEY PAID TO SEVERAL COMPANIES FORFEITED TO THE GOVERNMENT.

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BY SAM ALFAN.

Assets Recovery Agency now wants more than Sh316 million paid to several individuals by state agencies forfeited to the government.

In the petition, the agency said the funds which were frozen last year are proceeds of crime and should be forfeited to the government as they are suspicious payments.

In court documents, the agency wants Sh25.8 million held in the name of Jaruh Supplies, Sh45.5 million held in the name of Cailytech solution at Equity Bank, Sh4.7 million, Sh147.15 million held in the name of Sinatab agency and Sh1.7 million in the name of Five zone limited at Equity Bank all associated with Ruth Nyambura James forfeited to the government.

The agency also wants Sh31.7 million held in the name of Stekmo limited Enterprise at Equity Bank and Sh1.2 million held at Equity Bank in the name of Famotech supplies both businesses are associated with Stephen Musyoka Kinyamasyo, be forfeited to the government. 

In the petition, the agency wants the court to direct the funds be deposited in the government bank account held at Kenya Commercial Bank at KICC in the name of Asset Recovery Agency. 

Last year, Justice James Wakiaga issued orders stopping Ruth Nyambura James and her companies as well as Stephen Musyoka Kinyamasyo, his companies and employees from dealing with the funds in the said accounts.

“I hereby grant temporary preservation order against all respondents, their agents, employees, servants or any person from acting on their behave from transacting, withdrawing, transferring and dealing in any manner however in respect of any profits or benefits or account in respect of the specified in the named bank accounts,” ordered judge Wakiaga.

Corporal Fredrick Muriuki, an investigating officer told the court that the agency received information of suspected complex money laundering and proceedings of crime.

The funds were paid to the firms from the Office of the President, Ministry of defense and ministries of Interior and Treasury. 

The agency said it initiated investigations into activities of the businesses in question from December 2014 to July 2020 with view of identifying the trade they were involved in.

An analysis of the bank statements, ARA said established that the companies received more than Sh316 million.

However, the monies were multiple payments from the same government ministries and state agencies in suspected scheme of money laundering and fraud in an effort to conceal , disguise the nature , source, deposition and movement of illicit funds.

SONKO CHALLENGES REORGANISATION OF NAIROBI CECS

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BY PHOEBE WANJOHI.

Impeached Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has moved to court seeking to stop the acting Governor Benson Mutura from making illegal appointment at city hall.

Sonko says Mutura lacks powers to make any appointments, especially after he made changes to the cabinet.

“An injunction be issued prohibiting Acting Governor Benson Mutura from holding himself out as the substantive Governor of Nairobi City County from his carrying on, or representing in any manner or in any fora that he is executing the mandate current of the substantive Governor,” Sonko said in the petition.

The former city boss wants order issued prohibiting any execution or further execution of the decision by Mutura as contained in his letter dated January 6 in which he made the changes.

Through lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui, Sonko says the letter by Mutura purporting to reappoint Janet Ouko as City County CEC was illegal having been dismissed.

“In the circumstances, it is plain that unless restrained court by way of a conservatory order Mutura will wreak havoc in the governance of Nairobi City County in the acting capacity of a Governor he is occupying,” he added. 

Sonko argues that Mutura violated the County Governments Act, which expressly forbids him from exercising any of the powers of an elected governor.

He said the powers to nominate, appoint or dismiss any person in the County government are not available in law to Mutura.

Sonko also faulted the dismissal the Nairobi City County Secretary Justus Kathenge and the simultaneous appointment of Jairus Musimba.

He said Mutura is exposing the Nairobi City County Government to massive illegalities.

“Further to the above, the said Hon. Benson Mutura has purported to appoint one Paul Mutungi as a chief of Staff, when he has no such powers while simultaneously purporting to appoint one Brian Weke as a Legal Advisor, Office of the Governor,” he said.

Sonko maintains that the appointments are unlawful and in express violation of Section 32(4) of the County Governments Act.

He wants the court to issue urgent orders stopping the appointments, to protect the public interest, and stem the rogue and unlawful actions of the acting governor.

He said barely a few minutes after he was sworn in as the Acting Governor, Mutura also signed warrants for the release of the entire sum of Sh37.5 billion to Nairobi Metropolitan Services, despite a court order stopping the release of the funds.

KENYA MUSLIM LOBBY GROUP LAUD GULF PEACE AGREEMENT.

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BY SAM ALFAN.

The Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims has congratulated the leaders of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabiä and Qatar for signing the agreement to end hostilities that has lasted for the last four years.

The council through the Chairman AL-Hajj Hassan Ole Naado also congratulated and commended the governments of Bahrain, Egypt and United Arab Emirates for also agreeing to end their boycott and blockade of Qatar and restore diplomatic relationship.

The council noted that the agreement to end hostilities was a delicate diplomatic effort by leaders of other countries, especially Kuwait and Oman.

“We therefore commend the leadership of Kuwait and Oman, and other partners that led the dialogue to end the four-year blockade and boycott of Qatar and we are therefore delighted that the end of the blockade and boycott restores the cordial relationships that had existed between the two brotherly neighbors,” the statement said.

The council called the citizens of the countriew to support their leaders and embrace each other in a spirit of brotherhood to ensure that they build prosperous unities for themselves and future generations.

Al-Hajj said the global community looks up to and counts on Qatari and her Gulf neighbor to ensure that agreement translates inta tangible action on the ground to ensure peaceful coexistence in the region.

The council encouraged other countries in the Gulf and other parts of the world that have hostilities towards each other in one way or another to emulate the move and find peaceful resolution of their differences.

“We, therefore wish see hostilities pitting various interest groups in Yemen, Syria, Pakistan, Somalia, Iraq, Myanmar, Lebanon, India and Afghamstan resolved through dialogue and humility,” he added.

In 2017, a coalition of the governments of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Egypt accused Qatari of supporting subversive and desterilizing elements across the region.

The accusations were followed by a severance of diplomatic ties and imposition of land, sea and air blockade of Qatari as well as an economic boycott of it’s products.

Qatari was functionally isolated from her Gulf neighbors, putting significant strain on the socio-economic welfare of her people.

Besides, the blockade and boycott escalated political and security tensions in a region that already had it’s fair share of security challenges, which challenges often have adverse affects on internetional security and commerce.